Maintaining Our Faith

Continuing with the ספר הישר from yesterday, a further clarification is in order. If an individual is seeking truth and he is convinced of the truth of the Torah, which he would now like to begin observing, Rabbeinu Tam suggests two preliminary ideas before commencing with actual observance. He first gives a list of fourteen items that are potential pitfalls that might prevent this newfound observance from coming to fruition. He includes such obstacles as lust, anger, bad choice of friends as examples in this category. The second category are a list of things to be aware of that will help maintain this new observance. His advice here would be to study Torah on a regular basis. Or, to read stories of heroism and faith that shows Hashem's special bond with the Jewish people. And a third example would be to concentrate when one prays. There are many examples in both categories but the ones mentioned are to show how our sages tried to help their students keep their direction and grow in spirituality.